Lisa, 52, is on her way to becoming a fully qualified swimming teacher. Here she explains how she discovered swimming and how she plans to use her Institute of Swimming qualifications to inspire others.
Lisa works full time as a psychology teacher and is a Year 12 lead in a secondary school in Milton Keynes. Since September, she has been working as a swimming teaching assistant, helping in lessons for a couple of hours in the evenings and on a Sunday morning.
“If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d be so passionate about swimming I’d have laughed at you. It’s been a time of self-discovery and personal growth.
“It all started when I decided to take on the challenge of quitting alcohol for a year. As part of this commitment, I started to participate with open water swimming with the Bluetits Chill Swimmers. I absolutely loved my local group or ‘flock’, especially the feeling of community, and the thrill of swimming in open water throughout the year. Swimming has become so positive for my overall health and my mental wellbeing, and being someone that has completed marathons and has participated in lots of other exercises, swimming doesn’t ever hurt – it always boosts my spirits.
“The Bluetits Chill Swimmers were looking for individuals to have Bluetits recognised open water swim coach qualifications. I was immediately interested, however, I felt that if I was to do this, I wanted to be more knowledgeable and get my swimming teacher qualifications too. This was both for personal and professional reasons.
“I firstly wanted to learn all the correct stroke methods myself, as although a confident swimmer, up until two years ago I was scared and wouldn’t put my face in the water. I felt that learning the teaching methods would help my own swimming style. Secondly, the school where I work is keen and supportive of my training and are giving me time off for my level two qualification, as it’s a useful qualification to have at a school.”
Lisa completed a blended learning SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant qualification, which suited her work commitments. During her training she contacted a few local leisure centres to inform them that she was undertaking the qualification. Lisa explains:
“My local pool were keen and as soon as I qualified I started assisting teachers with their lessons.
“I’ve really enjoyed helping with the lessons in the pool. As someone who usually teaches teenagers at school, it was great to be able to support some younger children with their learning. Their enthusiasm is infectious.
“It’s been helpful working as a swimming assistant for the last few months, as this further cements my confidence in my swimming teaching skills, and means when I take my level 2 qualification, which I’m due to complete in November, I will be even more prepared to lead successful swimming lessons. It will also further support my open water coaching too.
“Once qualified, my plan is to continue to work at my local leisure centre alongside my secondary school teaching. I know I’ll be really busy, but I’m committed to making a difference. I’d really love to pursue adult swimming lessons, as it surprises me how many adults can’t swim, and when taking their children swimming have to stand in the shallow end. I can use my own experience and previous fears of putting my face in the water to put myself in their shoes.”